The 1960s were a time of transformation for the United States, for women, and for Georgetown’s business school. The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and the women’s rights movement intersected in a wave of tremendous social change.
While women were entering the workforce in increasing numbers, traditionally “feminine” roles offered lower pay and little opportunity for promotion. The pattern of women leaving the workforce for reasons related to marriage and childbirth persisted. Despite this employment trend, the gender gap in higher education was beginning to close. Major universities began to accept women, abandon explicit gender quotas, and revise gender discriminatory admissions policies at the end of the 1960s.
It was in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the first women arrived at Georgetown’s business school. These women were admitted only if they lived locally, were Catholic, and were unable to attend an out-of-town Catholic institution to receive an education in business administration. Comprising just 5% of the school’s total enrollment, the women students in the business school found themselves constituting about one-half of the top 10% of all students academically.
Below are excerpts from the women featured in the book and Georgetown highlights from this decade. To continue reading their full stories and view additional images, order your copy today and receive immediate access to the digital edition. Click here to order.
Rita (Zekas) Sielicki, BSBA 1960
Rita Sielicki was the first female graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Business Administration. After Georgetown, Sielicki worked for a construction company in D.C., had two children with her husband (a fellow Hoya), and eventually returned to the workplace. Sielicki is now retired in Cape Cod, but she continues to travel the world.
Patricia (Pritchard) Bianchi, BSBA 1963
Patricia Bianchi was one of the first 10 graduates of the business school. Like many of the early women, she commuted to campus. After graduation, Bianchi worked as a contractor for NASA on the Apollo project and then rose through the ranks of the federal government, retiring from the Food and Drug Administration after 36 years of government service. She spent almost two decades working on a joint project with her husband (a band director) to recruit, train, and take student musicians from Virginia on performance tours of Europe. Her grandson is a member of the College class of 2023.
Teresa Iannaconi, BSBA 1965
After graduating, Teresa Iannaconi entered the male-dominated field of accounting, where she stood up for herself when faced with workplace sexism. After four years with Lybrand and six with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Iannaconi earned an MBA and eventually became a partner with Big Four accounting firm KPMG and a member of its Board of Directors. After retiring, she became a double Hoya when she earned her J.D. at age 72.
Ginger (Ancipink) McGuffie, BSBA 1966, J.D. 1973
After a few years working as a CPA and tax law specialist, Ginger McGuffie decided to become a lawyer and returned to Georgetown (becoming the first alumna to add a J.D. and become the first woman Georgetown University double Hoya). After earning her law degree, she opened her own firm in Washington, D.C. Eventually, although her firm was successful and she even had argued a case before the Supreme Court, McGuffie looked for a new challenge and transitioned into software engineering.
Ellen (Mulhall) Morrell, BSBA 1966
Like a number of other early women students, Ellen Morrell transferred to Georgetown. After graduation, she became an assistant buyer at a Washington, D.C., department store, then shifted to teaching at Marymount College, Mount Vernon College, and back to her alma mater, the School of Business. After nearly two decades in business higher education, she entered residential and commercial real estate. Morrell was one of the first women on the faculty, one of the first women on the alumni board, and the first McDonough School of Business alumna to have a child graduate from Georgetown. Morrell and her husband, Michael (COL’65, L’68), are the parents of three Georgetown sons (COL’91, BSBA’95, COL’01).
Linda Amiguet, BSBA 1967
Linda Amiguet grew up in Cuba, and began working at her family business in Puerto Rico after she graduated. She started off helping out in administration and management, and today, she is the president of that company, AM Corporation.
Catherine Gilligan, BSBA 1968
Developing organizational and accounting skills in an environment that supported her Catholic upbringing, Catherine Gilligan had a career in business that was heavily shaped by her Georgetown experience. After working in accounting, she worked for Beatrice Foods and later for small businesses and churches. The final 20 years of her career were spent working as a Canon Lawyer for the Catholic Church.
Maurine (Mills) Murtagh, BSBA 1968
After graduating first in her class from Georgetown’s School of Business Administration, Maurine Murtagh earned an MBA and pursued a career in investment banking. When the reality of workplace sexism reared its head, she forged new paths as an investor in a Florentine decorative glass business, a corporate finance lawyer, and now, a leader in global health and diagnostics.
Regina (Wentzel) Wolfe, BSBA 1968
Gina Wolfe was the only woman in her first-year class, which made it hard to miss class unnoticed. After working in Hong Kong and the United States, she earned her Ph.D. in moral theology and business ethics in London. Her scholarship focuses on leadership and issues of social and economic justice, particularly their impact on women. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, she is co-author or editor of four books, including her latest, Alleviating Poverty Through Profitable Partnerships: Globalization, Markets, and Economic Well-Being (2020).
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